Overview of the Nova Scotia Registry of Buyers (for Primary Forest Products)

 

Background of the Registry of Buyers

One of the issues frequently raised in discussions about forestry or forest practices is the availability and reliability of data and information on the volume of products harvested and the sustainability of harvests. As part of a broad strategy for achieving sustainable forestry in Nova Scotia, a system for compiling reliable and accurate information was developed.

For more than 60 years the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been compiling data on the volume of forest harvest and secondary forest products. This information was reported annually in the Nova Scotia Forest Production Survey. This data provides a picture of harvest and use trends over a long period of time and is of value to many individuals and businesses, as well as to government. In today's forest management environment, data is required at a greater level of accuracy and reliability than has been available in the past. We need data that accurately reflects wood harvest and use at the county level by land tenure. We also need to compile and report data more quickly.

The Department of Natural Resources has developed a data collection system that is intended to provide the forest use and management information required now and in the future. This system is referred to as the "Registry of Buyers." Beginning in 1998, the Registry replaced data collection through the Forest Production Survey. In addition to providing forest harvest information, the Registry serves as the focal point or link among the various initiatives that are part of the broader forest management strategy described in the document "Toward Sustainable Forestry: A Position Paper."

The Registry of Buyers is a Nova Scotia government initiative delivered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) under the authority of the Forests Act. Within DNR, delivery of the Registry is a joint effort involving many staff within the Renewable Resources Branch and Regional Services Branch. This document provides an overview of the Registry, including its purpose, how it operates, and where the roles and responsibilities lie within DNR.

Purpose of the Registry of Buyers

A Registry of Buyers of primary forest products has been established within the Department of Natural Resources. The intent of the Registry is to provide a means of collecting reliable data and information pertaining to:

  • acquisition of primary forest products, export/import of primary forest products,
  • generation of secondary forest products,

The Department of Natural Resources will also work with registered buyers:

  • to estimate future demand for primary forest products, and
  • to ensure the sustainability of forest harvests.

The information compiled through the Registry will be used by the Department of Natural Resources to:

  • understand regional primary forest product demand and supply, estimate and monitor sustainable harvest levels, determine long-term resource management needs, and
  • identify forest product and value-added development opportunities.

The Registry of Buyers will:

i) Identify persons or businesses that:

  • process primary forest products into secondary forest products in N.S., acquire primary forest products for processing into energy (ie. electricity) acquire primary forest products to sell as a fuel to the consumer (when greater than 1000 m3 of primary forest product is acquired), import primary forest products into Nova Scotia for the purpose of processing into secondary forest products, or
  • export primary forest products in unprocessed form from Nova Scotia to other provinces or countries.

ii) Compile annual data on the amount of primary forest products acquired by registered buyers according to:

  • species (ie. hardwood/softwood) geographic origin (ie. county) tenure of land ownership from which the product is acquired
  • processing location or destination.

iii) Compile information on secondary forest products generated in Nova Scotia by each registered buyer.

iv) Report annually on the data and information compiled through the Registry.

Registration and Statistical Returns

The Registry of Buyers for primary forest products is established under the Forests Act. The specific Registry requirements is established through the Registration and Statistical Returns Regulations. These regulations specify the requirements for registration, and the requirements for submission of annual statistical information. They also include provision for procedures and requirements related to their enforcement.

Data compiled through the Registry will follow government confidentiality regulations and policies with respect to data for individual registered buyers.

Administrative Structure for Registry of Buyers

Within the Government of Nova Scotia, the Registry of Buyers is the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources and will be administered by:

  • Minister, Registrar
  • DNR Staff

Minister
The Registry is formally established under the Forests Act. As the administrator of the Act, the Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for ensuring that the intent of the Registry of Buyers is carried out within the Department.

Registrar
There is a provision in the legislation for the designation of a person to be responsible for the administration and operation of the Registry of Buyers. The "Registrar", appointed within the Renewable Resources Branch, assumes the responsibilities for administration of the Registry of Buyers on behalf of the Minister. In this capacity, the Registrar will be responsible for ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the day-to-day operation of the Registry.

DNR Staff
DNR staff play an important role in the ongoing operation of the Registry of Buyers. Responsibilities range from the day-to-day operation of the Registry system to explaining how the Registry works, finding ways to make it easier for clients to meet the requirements, and ensuring compliance to the requirements.

The Department has regional offices spread throughout Nova Scotia. Staff in each of these offices are expected to be involved in the ongoing operation of most aspects of the Registry. They will maintain regular contact with registered buyers, respond to inquiries and complaints, monitor communication and technical support needs, and carry out actions related to enforcement.

Operation of the Registry

The Registry of Buyers System consists of operational procedures and policies for the Registry and the management of information/data compiled through the Registry.

Intent

  • provide an operational framework for administration of the Registry of Buyers, provide records related to registration, receipt of statistical returns, and monitoring of compliance, provide a data management system, provide reliable, accurate and timely data, support other components of a DNR forest management strategy
  • produce reports and other Registry information

Objective

  • efficient data and information management reliable and accurate information and data
  • fast turn around on data/information reporting

Responsiblity

Forestry Division, Renewable Resources Branch in association with:

  • Registrar
  • DNR Staff

Components

Inquiries and Complaints
Correspondence, telephone calls or other form of client contact related to the Registry are processed by the contacted DNR office on behalf of the Registrar. Correspondence related to applications and submission of annual returns, however, are forwarded to the Registrar.

Receiving Registrations and Updates
Applications for registration or updates can be submitted directly to the Registry in Truro or to a local DNR office. If an application is incomplete, staff will make reasonable effort to contact the applicant to complete the registration form (Form A) within 30 days of initial receipt. Once an application for registration is complete, a registered buyer number is assigned and a certificate identifying them as a registered buyer is issued. Annually, a copy of the information submitted will be returned to the registered buyer to confirm their status and verify that the information has been recorded correctly.

Receiving Annual Statistical Returns
Annual statistical returns are to be forwarded to the Registrar for processing. When a return is considered incomplete, staff will make reasonable effort to contact the registered buyer and complete the return within 30 days of receipt. If the return cannot be completed to the satisfaction of the Registrar, the registered buyer will be considered to be non-compliant with the requirements of the Registry.

Processing Data and Reporting Results
The Registrar will report information from the Registry of Buyers on an annual basis. A series of annual reports will be designed and prepared to meet the recurring needs of most clients for accurate and timely data and information. A report summarizing harvest information, will be prepared annually for distribution. Customized reports can be prepared on request. In all reporting, confidentiality of individual statistical information will be protected according to provincial regulations and policy.

Monitoring Compliance
Compliance is required in the following areas:

i) registration as a registered buyer, and

ii) submission of annual statistical returns

The Registry will monitor the status of registrations and receipt of completed statistical returns on a regular basis. DNR staff will regularly monitor local wood processing, wood export/import, and commercial-level firewood sales. The purpose is to identify potential registered buyers and notify them of the requirements of the Registry.

Monitoring Data Reliability, Accuracy
The data contained in the Registry database will be checked regularly to identify data integrity. Additional data verification will be conducted by comparing primary forest product use data against industry capacity for wood consumption, and data from other provinces/states related to the import/export of primary forest products. Registered buyer submissions will be monitored regularly to ensure accurate reporting and identify reporting problems.

Communications

This strategy component addresses the communication needs of DNR staff, registered buyers, external agencies/organizations and the public. The focus is to ensure understanding of the requirements, related roles and responsibilities, and achieving a high level of compliance.

Intent

  • provide communication services to support operation of the Registry, inform public regarding Registry of Buyers, ensure registered buyers are aware of and understand Registry requirements, ensure DNR staff have the training and information necessary to operate the Registry, keep forest sector organizations
  • informed regarding Registry of Buyers, distribute information gathered through the Registry, inform all clients and other stakeholders of changes related to the Registry

Objectives

  • increase compliance efficient distribution of information
  • effective client liaison

Responsibllity

  • Registrar
  • DNR Staff

Registered Buyer Technical Support

The technical support component is designed to support both the Registry of Buyers system and increase the capacity of registered buyers to provide the data required. The strategy focuses on the identification of client needs and development of activities to meet such needs.

Intent

  • assist clients in meeting requirements of Registry of Buyers, pursue opportunities for electronic receipt of statistical information, define client needs related to record keeping and identify opportunities to meet requirements of Registry
  • maintain periodic contact with registered buyers as part of client liaison

Objective

  • increase reliability, accuracy, and timeliness of statistical reporting
  • improve the ability of registered buyers to maintain the records needed to meet annual reporting requirements

Responsiblity
Forestry Division, Renewable Resources Branch in association with

  • Registrar
  • DNR Staff

Enforcement

The enforcement component consists of operational objectives, guidelines and procedures for ensuring compliance to the Registration and Statistical Return Regulations under the Forests Act.

Intent

  • ensure that an acceptable level of compliance to requirements of Registry of Buyers is met consistently across the province, provide policy and procedures for identifying non-compliance and for enforcement of Registration and Statistical Returns Regulations
  • monitor data and information reported to the Registry by individual registered buyers to verify accuracy and reliability

Objectives

  • maintain a high level of compliance to Registry requirements
  • use enforcement action as a last resort in achieving desired compliance levels

Responsiblity:

  • Registrar
  • DNR Staff

Violations under the Registration and Statistical Returns Regulations:

  • failure to register with the Registry of Buyers
    failure to notify the Registrar of a change in registered buyer information
  • failure to submit an annual statistical return that is complete and accurate

Penalties Penalties under these regulations will be pursuant to the Summary Proceedings Act.